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Genesis Scottish Open 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 08 Jul 2024

Rory McIlroy will return to the Renaissance Club in East Lothian to defend the Scottish Open title he won in such sensational fashion 12 months ago.

And he will be dreading it. Why? Because he knows that when he sits down to face the media for the first time the only thing they will want to ask him about will be the two short putts he missed on the 16th and 18th greens as he gifted the US Open to Bryson DeChambeau at Pinehurst last month. 

He was last seen heading for the car park and immediately announced he would be taking a break from the game. It is impossible not to feel for the Northern Irishman. He would not be human if the next time he gets in a position to win any tournament, far less a major, his mind does not wander back to Pinehurst.

And he could not face a more difficult test of his powers of recovery than the one that will face him this week. The Scottish Open is jointly sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and that means the strongest field we have witnessed in Europe in 2024.

Rory McIlroy

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Among those travelling to Scotland in confident mood is US PGA champion Xander Schauffele

The American sealed his maiden Rolex Series title with a gritty level par final round of 70 in this event back in 2022 as he became the first player to win an event co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour outside of the majors and World Golf Championships.

The reigning Olympic champion, who is enjoying a fabulous season, is looking forward to returning to the scene of his first win in Scotland as he prepares for The Open and the defence of his Olympic title in Paris.

He said: "I’m looking forward to coming back to the Renaissance Club. Winning in Scotland a couple years ago was amazing, there is so much history to the game in this country and the fans really got behind me, so it was a very special moment in my career."

There will be massive local support for Robert MacIntyre, with the 27-year-old making his sixth consecutive appearance in his home open this summer. The two-time DP World Tour winner will join his European Ryder Cup teammates in the field following his debut at golf’s greatest team event at Marco Simone Golf Club last September where he contributed a total of 2.5 points and was undefeated in Rome.

The Oban native, who recently won the Canadian Open, finished second last year to McIlroy and will once again be vying to become the first Scot to win the event since Colin Montgomerie in 1999. He said: "Last year was incredible and heartbreaking at the same time - I’ll never forget it. The reception from the fans on 18, the chance of winning my national open, this is the reason I play this sport.

"I want to play the Scottish Open for the rest of my life. I have dreamed of winning this event since I was a kid, so I will always give my best and I can’t wait to come back to play in front of the home crowds. It’s always a highlight of my summer and I look forward to trying to get my hands on that trophy in what is a massive year."

For 21-year-old Tom Kim it will be his third appearance after impressing with a third-place finish in Scotland in 2022, followed by a tied six finish last year. The Seoul native, who has won in the past two PGA Tour seasons, said: "The Scottish Open has so much history and I’ve loved playing at the Renaissance Club the past couple of years. I’ve had some good results, and it sets me up nicely the week before The Open, so I’m excited to spend a couple of weeks in Scotland this July."

Ludvig Aberg will return in a rich vein of form following his runner-up finish on his major debut at The Masters. The Swede teed it up at Renaissance Club for the first time amid a remarkable 2023 season, in which he claimed maiden wins on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour either side of his history-making Ryder Cup appearance in Italy.

The 24-year-old formed a formidable partnership with Viktor Hovland in the memorable European win, including a record 9&7 defeat of world number one Scottie Scheffler and five-time major winner Brooks Koepka, as he became the first player to play at a Ryder Cup before making an appearance in a major championship.

Aberg said: "I’ve had a memorable year since I last played this event, and I’m aiming to keep that form going into the summer in Scotland. The Rolex Series tournaments are always special to play in, and I’m looking forward to getting back to Renaissance Club and playing in front of the Scottish fans."

Hovland ended 2023 in stunning fashion, becoming the fifth international player to win the FedEx Cup after claiming the BMW Championship and Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in back-to-back weeks.

With six total wins on the PGA Tour he then made the extraordinary decision to make some swing changes at the end of 2023 and lost his form. He has now abandoned that plan and has shown some promising signs recently.

He said: "I’ve played the Genesis Scottish Open a couple of times now and it’s always a fun week. It’s a great time to have the DP World Tour and PGA Tour guys coming together in the week before the Open."

Tommy Fleetwood claimed his seventh DP World Tour title at the Dubai Invitational in January and finished in a tie for third at The Masters. While he has played consistently enough he has not looked like winning in America in 2024, but the Englishman will return to East Lothian seeking to go one better than his second-place finish in 2020.

Fleetwood, who has now finished in the top five of every major, said: "I’ve come close a couple of times in recent years, and I would love to win my second title of the season at the Scottish Open. The tournament makes up a great two weeks, coming in the week before The Open, and I’m looking forward to back-to-back events in Scotland this July."

Others who need a good week are Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, and Justin Thomas. Rose has slipped down the rankings and had to come through final qualifying to clinch his place at Troon. Thomas had the worst season of his professional career in 2023. Earlier this year the double major winner looked close to his best but recent weeks have seen him struggle again. And Fitzpatrick has largely had a season to forget.

Tournament Winners:

It was won in 2015 by Rickie Fowler, in 2016 by Alex Noren, in 2017 by Rafa Cabrera Bello, in 2018 by Brandon Stone, in 2019 by Bernd Wiesberge, in 2020 by Aaron Rai, in 2021 by Min Woo Lee, in 2022 by Xander Schauffele and last year by Rory McIlroy.

The Course:

The Renaissance Club is located in East Lothian. A par 71, it measures 7,303 yards and is a modern links course, featuring plenty of thick rough. It was designed by Tom Doak and features stunning views over the Firth of Forth. If the weather is good expect to see some very low scoring. If the wind blows it will be a very different story.

Form Guide:

Xander Schauffele is walking on water right now. He has made a scarcely credible 50 consecutive cuts - even Scottie Scheffler doesn’t come close to that run. He has already won in Scotland and is definitely the form player.

To Win:

Xander Schauffele. The man to beat

Each Way:

Rory McIlroy. How will he bounce back?

Each Way:

Tommy Fleetwood. Loves links golf

Five to Follow:

Xander Schauffele. Sensational short game

Rory McIlroy. Will definitely be fired up

Tommy Fleetwood. Will be hoping for some wind

Ludvig Aberg. So gifted

Justin Thomas. Desperate for a win

Five Outsiders to Watch:

Richie Ramsay. Proud Scot

Hurly Long. Gifted German

Richard Mansell. Proven winner

Matthew Jordan. Can go really low

Calum Hill. Seeking some home inspiration

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Tags: PGA Tour Golf Previews FedEx Cup dp world tour

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